Ron DeSantis Goes Head to Head with the CDC and Cruise Industry over Vaccine Passports

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 13: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a new conference on the surge in coronavirus cases in the state held at the Jackson Memorial Hospital on July 13, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Yesterday, Florida reported 15,300 new confirmed cases on Sunday, topping the previous U.S. record …
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The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Edge, which received clearance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to set sail, is showing no signs of backtracking on its rule requiring guests to show proof of full vaccination prior to boarding, despite a warning shot from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

The CDC recently granted Celebrity Edge permission to set sail after meeting safety protocols outlined by the agency. Per the CDC’s rules, the vast majority of cruise ship passengers and crew members, 95 percent, must be fully vaccinated. In order to sail on the Celebrity Edge, which is expected to set sail from Florida’s Port Everglades next month, guests 16 and older “must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing.” The age requirement will drop to 12 and older on August 1, 2021.

DeSantis, who signed a measure banning the use of vaccine passports in the Sunshine State earlier this month, warned the cruise liner from implementing such discriminatory policies.

“The CDC has no legal authority to set any sort of requirements to cruise,” his office said. “Moreover, the CDC has acknowledged, on record, that the federal government chose not to make a legal requirement for vaccine passports.”

“Now the CDC provides coercive ‘guidance,’ in the absence of any federal law or congressional authorization, requiring cruise ships to violate state law,” his office added.

DeSantis reemphasized that companies doing business in Florida, “including Celebrity Cruises, should immediately cease to impose such discriminatory policies upon individuals.”

“Companies that violate this law would be subject to a fine of $5,000 each time they require a customer to present a ‘vaccine passport’ for service,” DeSantis said, adding, “We look forward to seeing Celebrity Cruises set sail in compliance with Florida law.”

However, Celebrity Cruises does not appear to be changing its position.

“We are working to finalize our health and safety measures for cruises departing from U.S. ports, including Florida, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local authorities in the U.S. and destinations we visit,” Celebrity spokesperson Susan Lomax told USA Today.

“Our commitment to sail with fully vaccinated crew members and guests still stands as it is a meaningful layer to ensure we make every effort to help keep safe our guests, crew and the communities we visit,” the statement continued.

As it stands, passengers will be required to show proof of vaccination to board the ship.

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